Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pride or Shame


President Bush has recently nominated Michael Mukasey for the post of Attorney General. Mukasey in an Orthodox Jew. As such has the potential to be a source of pride of of shame to the Jewish community.

Some, like the JTA, say he is "the prefect pick." An "emaculate human being". A fine judge. A fair conservative, with a good understanding of terrorism and its implications for the law.

But many others have their doubts. While stating that he opposes torture, he has studiously avoided naming specific practices used by the U.S. in the past (and in the present too for all we know) as torture. When asked by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, if waterboarding - a technique long at the center of the controversy about the U.S. use of torture - is indeed an act of torture, Mukasey replied that he wasn't familiar "how it was done", so he could not say. Whitehouse responded incredulously. "That's a massive hedge. I mean, it either is or it isn't." Read the full story in the Associated Press.

Mukasey will probably be confirmed anyway, but his positions on torture and Presidential powers are sure to be controversial, and his actions in these areas closely watched. Only time will tell whether he is a source of pride or shame to the Jewish community.

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